Australian actor Claudia Doumit, who portrays the role of a an anti-superhero Congresswoman, Victoria Neuman, in superhero sci-fi series, The Boys, has shattered quite a few stereotypes attached to how women are portrayed on screen. The show highlights of strong women in powerful positions without resorting to cliches while also delving into a number of complex issues.
While Doumit is happy that the Amazon Prime Video show gets the gender representation right, she asserts, during an interaction in Sydney, Australia for an exclusive screening, “[With anything you do or say], there’s always the [added] attachment [or an extra tag] of a woman — a powerful ‘woman’. And I very much want that while approaching Neuman, I hope just take out the ‘woman’ and make it — just powerful; a powerful person; she’s a powerful political figure; she’s a powerful character in this show. I think it’s important to explore it through that lens.”
Besides touching upon various social issues that are topical and relevant in today’s time, The Boys — which is based on the comic book of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson — also effectively combats stereotypes around female villains and does not sexualise them in order to gain attention.
Doumit nods that it’s a refreshing change and lauds the creative team behind the show including the writers and director Eric Kripke, for not giving in to the usual norm.
She adds, “The show creates these rich characters that don’t rely on any of those superficial or surface-level catches (like sexualising their female villains) for audiences. I mean, sure, it’s a superhero genre, so you have got capes and all that kind of stuff for the visual appeal, but it’s almost like they are poking fun at it,” says the 30-year-old, adding that the characters at the core are “so brilliant that you are not focusing on or, in fact, you don’t have to focus on anything else [to make them seen or heard].”
Elaborating further, she says, “They are so three-dimensional, they are so flawed, they are so deeply [intense]… But, it’s a character-driven show and that’s where the focus is. And therefore, it’s so easy to play these character that you see on screen.”
Doumit’s character is based on American politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the acknowledges the change in the cultural landscape, and change within the system. Given it’s also an extremely physically and mentally challenging role, we ask her how easy and difficult it has been to catch the nuances and bring them to light.
“There have been some easy elements, but there have also been some moments where I have to dive in there and really think about how to approach a particular situation and what she would be like at that point. And it’s all very measured and very strategic, and that, I think, is very on par with any woman who’s in politics. So, the show very much mirrors that approach, that they do have to be strategic and figure out how to come across,” shares the actor, who “really wants to” visit India “for its rich culture and food and everything else”.
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